“Help! My Child Doesn’t Like Reading Books!”– The Benefits of Making Adapted Books

June 24, 2013

What is an adapted book?

Adapted books are any reading materials which have been modified  to make a book more accessible to a child’s physical needs and style of learning. The most common adapted book consists of color laminated pictures attached by Velcro pieces within the book, so a child can remove and replace the attachments for exploration. Adapted books are resistant to tears and heavy push/ pull movements within the pages, and are usually made of large, durable cardboard stock.  Most large board books can be ordered on-line for discount prices.

Who would benefit from reading an adapted book?

Although any child will likely enjoy an adapted book, Children diagnosed with sensory deficits disorders (the inability to process information through the senses), and language delays (the inability to process and express words) will especially benefit.  Adapted books can be used in all environments, including home, classrooms, and play groups.

Why are adapted books beneficial?

Adapted children’s books provide interactive fun, sensory input, and opportunities to engage in social pretend play. When children remove and attach Velcro pieces from within the book, more small and large muscle groups are engaged with the learning process, and language is stimulated through actions. Large, densely weighted books are helpful because they provide pressure to the muscles and joints when lap reading. Also, thick Velcro strips can be challenging to push and pull together, so a child’s range of motions will regulate speech rate, and increase clarity of thought processes. Additionally, attachable pieces can be moved close to the face, which encourages eye contact.

How would I use an adapted book?

Children can be great teachers in knowing how to use an adapted book.  The attachable pieces can fly through the air, sing a song, land on a flower, talk to characters on the next page, ride in a truck to the next destination, or walk across a leaf stem. Children will often match attachable pieces with items in the book, build fine motor skills as they rotate items like a puzzle piece, or play hide and seek with the items in the room. For older children, the following skills can be taught: Identification of objects and colors, sequencing steps, looking for missing objects, and following directions. When used with two or more children, attachable pieces can be used for collecting, trading, and pretend play.

How do I make an adapted book?

Step #1:  Purchase any size Board Books on-line, or buy one at the local book store.

Recommended Starter Books:

Eric Carle—“The Very Quiet Cricket” (which features a cricket sound on the last page of the book)

Eric Carle—“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Step #2: Photo-copy (black and white—Image Photo quality) each page of the book. *Note: Commercial office supply companies will not make color photo copies of the book, due to Copyright laws. All copies in commercial companies must be in black and white, then adapted, which is permissible for use with children who have special needs. Adapted books are not permissible to be resold.

Step #3:  Uses Dot Markers (or Bingo markers, sold in craft and supply stores) to quickly color the black and white images.

Step #4: Use scissors to cut out preferred characters and objects .

Step #5: Laminate (Local office supply store)and cut out the pieces.

Step #6: Attach Velcro strips (on-line for bulk)  within the book, and to the attachable pieces.

Although it takes some preparation to make an adapted book, the books are very durable and serve multiple functions of learning. Your adaptable book  will out-live paperback books, and will stack nicely on a shelf.  Have fun using your imagination, and follow your child’s lead!

-April Kumlin, B.A., SLP-A

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Normal Speech Sound Development

June 4, 2013

One of the most commonly asked questions of a speech-language pathologist is “Are my child’s sound errors normal?”

If your child is unable to say certain sounds or cannot be understood by others, you may want to take them for a speech evaluation.  A speech-language pathologist would be able to answer your questions and determine whether your child’s sound errors are developmental (appropriate errors based on the child’s age) or non-developmental (not age-appropriate and would need intervention).  A speech-language pathologist would evaluate your child and use “speech sound norms” or “sound acquisition norms” to determine which errors are developmentally appropriate and which errors are not.

Results of a speech evaluation may help ease parent’s worries about their child’s intelligibility.  Speech sound norms give useful information about which sounds are typically developed in the first 2-3 years, which ones are not developed until 4-5 years, and which ones may not be fully developed until 6-7 years.  A commonly misproduced sound is /r/.  When setting expectations for their child’s speech, it is important for parents to know that the /r/ sound is not typically mastered by most children until age 5 or 6. Although, some children may master the sound as early as 3 or 4.

Below is a link to a chart that is used by speech-language pathologists as a guideline to help determine which sound errors are appropriate and which are not.  Please don’t hesitate to take your child to be evaluated if you have any concerns.

Speech Sound Chart

 

- Michelle Morgado, M.S. CCC-SLP

 

Information taken from: http://mommyspeechtherapy.com

 


Sensory Diet

May 29, 2013

Once a parent understands Sensory Processing (see this post for a full explanation), the next question is often “what do I do with my or my child’s sensory needs?” An OT will usually answer, “it depends on the individual.” Every person explores, feels and senses their environment differently.  For example, when I am unable to focus on my work, often times I will play calming music in the background and that helps me become more focused. For others any type of noise in the background can be very distracting.

To help figure out what is calming/alerting for you or your child, your occupational therapist will usually establish a sensory diet.  A sensory diet is something that can be embedded in your daily routine and help the individual get through tasks/transitions that can be very difficult. For example; if a child has difficulty getting dressed in the morning and complains about the feeling of the material or doesn’t like certain textures on their skin, the therapist might suggest an activity that would help the individual transition into the non-preferred activity (such as getting dressed). An example of one of the activities might include wrapping the child up in a blanket like a burrito and giving deep squishes to help desensitize the skin before putting clothes on. It could also help decrease the child’s anxiety about getting dressed as being wrapped up tightly can give a calm and safe feeling (again, every individual is different). Occupational therapists work with the family to help establish a diet that works for the child and family. Below is a list of tools, most of them are divided into calming, alerting or organizing activities. Please take note that these are suggested activities and may not be calming/alerting for your child; as I mentioned before every person processes information differently.

Activities that may be found in a Sensory Diet:

 

 Alerting Activities: Alerting activities help the undersensitive child to increase hypo-responsiveness to sensory stimulation. Stimulation activities include:

§  Applying lotion with stimulating scents (peppermint, citrus scent).

§  Jumping activities (jumping jacks, jumping on trampoline, hop scotch, jumping on bed/furniture).

§  Bouncing activities (therapy ball, beach ball, peanut ball).

§  Eating crunchy food (raw vegetables and fruits, nuts, crunchy cereal, toast).

 

 

 Calming Activities:

Calming activities should be used to help the oversensitive child decrease hyper-responsiveness to sensory stimulation. These activities are characterized by slow, linear movement or comfort. They include:

§  Deep pressure activities (being sandwiched in between 2 pillows; being rolled in a blanket pretend to become a burrito; pushing against the wall with hands, back, and head; clamping hands in each other and squeeze; pushing down on a hard surface with extended arms and flat hands…).

§  Slow rocking (in the arms of an adult, in rocking chair, placed in a blanket held by 2 adults, in a hammock).

§  Taking a warm bath/shower.

§  Applying lotion with calming scent (lavender, chamomile, vanilla).

§  Sucking on hard candy, lollipops, or pacifier.

§  Holding a cuddle toy (stuffed animal, favorite blanket).

§  Manipulating a fidget toy.

 

 

 

 Organizing Activities: These activities help regulate the child’s responses. Organizing activities use resistance and/or rotational, upside down movement. They include:

 

§  Eating chewy foods (chewing gum, eating peanut butter, chewy fruit bars, dried fruits, fresh bagels).

§  Hanging activities (hanging arms of monkey bar, or chinning bar, hanging of adult’s elevated arms).

§  Pushing activities (pushing furniture, heavy grocery and/or laundry bags).

§  Climbing (on play structures, furniture, trees).

§  Bouncing activities.

§  Digging in resistive mass (theraputty, sand, mud, rice).

§  Sitting on an air cushion, peanut ball.

§  Participating in rough play (tug of war, roughhousing).

§  Upside down movement (somersault, cartwheel, hanging off trapeze).

 

By: Laura Anderson MS, OTR/L


Turning the “Terrible Twos” into the “Terrific Twos”

May 14, 2013

Many parents of two year-olds comment about the difficulty of having a two year-old.  The phrase the “Terrible Twos” is frequently used to qualify the feelings of parents about their frustration with their children’s temper tantrums and mood swings.  Whether or not a child has special needs, this period of time can be challenging.  I suggest that as we understand this unique period of growth in our children and have strategies to navigate challenging situations, we can turn this time period into the “Terrific Twos.”

Understanding: From the Perspective of a Two Year-Old

Being two years-old is hard. Children who are two are caught between having new self-help skills, leading to increased independence, and the reality that most tasks still cannot be done completely on their own.  They may have acquired a few new words and with language comes power.  Children quickly discover that the word “No!” is especially powerful.  But with this new-found power of communication, there is also realization that it is limited.  Two year-olds have limited verbal ability which leads to frustration. For children with delayed language, feelings of frustration can be even more intense.  Overall, children who are two have some ability, the taste of power, but, in the end, are relatively powerless in their situations.  That’s a very frustrating scenario.

Understanding: From the Perspective of a Professional

There is phenomenal growth and development occurring between 24 and 36 months across all areas of development.  In neuro-typical children, this is the time period of an explosion of vocabulary and language.  For children who are delayed in language, there is often significant change in language ability during this year.  With all of this growth and development, mood swing and temper tantrums are typical during this time period.

Strategies for Parents

  • Stay engaged with your child by talking with and playing with your child.  This is true in your home as well as when going out in public (to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, a restaurant).  Additionally, bring along a bag of engaging activities when going out in public.  Using a combination of engaging activities and staying engaged with your child’s interaction can go a long way to prevent a break down for your child.
  • When a child is having a temper tantrum, either offer comfort or ignore the behavior.  If you choose to ignore the behavior, ignore for a while, then offer comfort.
  • Distraction is a beautiful tool to use when a two year-old is upset.  Do something unexpected, be silly, or use humor.  Tickling sometimes works, if it is a generally desirable and engaging activity for your child.
  • When engaging in distraction, distract with interaction (tickling, being silly, etc.) rather than with another object (food or a toy). Giving a desirable food or a desirable toy can be seen as a reward and you can inadvertently reward an undesirable behavior.
  • Don’t be afraid of saying “No” to your child but reserve the firm use of “No!” for serious (i.e. dangerous) situations.  In other situations, redirect your child’s behavior to another activity instead.

By staying engaged, being prepared, and knowing ahead of time how to pull out of melt downs can turn this exciting period of development into a terrific time for you and your child!

Jennifer M. Adams, MA, CCC-SLP


Literacy Series Post #6: Supporting Your Child’s Reading At Home

April 10, 2013

“If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.” -Hesiod

Listed below are some general suggestions for things that parents can do to help support the reading growth of their children. These are general suggestions, meant to be useful for almost any child, and there may be other things your child’s teacher will want you to do that are focused on the specific needs of your child. All of these suggestions come from research on the way children learn to read. If you do some of them regularly in a motivating and supportive way, they will help your child make faster progress in learning to read. Many of these activities, such as those that build vocabulary and teach children to think while they read, will also help your child ultimately be a much better reader than he or she might otherwise become.

Kindergarten

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to read to your child. Before you read each book, read the title and look at the cover and pictures inside. Ask your child what she thinks the book may be about (prediction). After reading the book, review her prediction. Was the prediction right? If not, what happened instead?

3. Plan to go to the school library, public library, or the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After reading each book, talk to him about what happened at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.

4. Play rhyming games. Say two words that rhyme (e.g. cat, sat) and ask your child to say a word that rhymes with your words. Take turns. Ask your child to say a word and then you respond with a rhyming word. For example, child says “cat”, parent says “hat”; child says “chair”, parent says “pair”.

5. Take turns thinking of two words that begin with the same sound. Examples: mom, moon; dog, door; fun, fast; paper, pet.

6. Play the “say it fast” game. Say a word, one sound at a time and have your child say the word at a normal rate. For example, you say each sound in the word cat, “/c/ /a/ /t/.” Then your child says the word at the normal speed, “cat.” Play this game with about five to ten short words (e.g. am, is, it, in, on, sit, pan, sun, top, net, fin) each day.

7. Take every opportunity you can to help increase your child’s vocabulary. You can do this by pointing to things and asking the child to tell you what they are, or you can stop and explain the meaning of any words in your reading that the child may not understand. The more you talk to your child, the faster their vocabulary will grow.

First Grade

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to read with your child. Take turns reading a page at a time. Or, read a sentence and then have your child reread that same sentence until you read through the whole book.

3. Plan to go to the school library, public library, or the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After each story is read, ask her to retell the story to you. Go back to the story to reread sections if she needs help retelling the story in sequence.

4. Play the “say the word slowly” game. Say a word at normal rate and then have your child say that same word slowly, one sound at a time. For example, say the word, “mat.” Then your child will say that same word slowly, one sound at a time, “/m/ /a/ /t/.” Play this game using about five to ten short words each day.

5. Fold a piece of paper into three parts. Let your child draw a picture of something he did in sequence. Then help your child write one sentence under each picture explaining what he did first, next and last.

6. Take turns thinking of two words that end with the same sound. Examples: mom, some; dog, rug; fun, ran; paper, feather.

7. Take every opportunity you can to help increase your child’s vocabulary. You can do this by pointing to things and asking the child to tell you what they are, or you can stop and explain the meaning of any words in your reading that the child may not understand. The more you talk to your child, the faster their vocabulary will grow.

Second Grade

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to listen to your child read.

3. Go to the school library, public library, or to the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. Read the title then look at the cover and pictures inside. Ask your child to predict what the book is about. After reading the book, review prediction then ask about the characters, setting, problem and solution.

4. Fact or Opinion Game: The parent says a sentence to the child then asks whether it is a fact or opinion. Ex: The weather is nice. (Opinion) A dog can bark. (Fact)

5. Encourage reading fluency by having your child read and reread familiar books. It can also be helpful to have your child read a short passage over several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time from one reading to the next, and the repeated reading helps to establish a habit of fluent reading.

6. Pick out a new vocabulary word from one of the books you are reading with your child. Talk about what it means then make up a sentence with the new word. Try to use the word again that week.

If your child is a struggling reader and you want professional support in helping your child read, please visit our website to make an appointment for an evaluation.


Literacy Series Post #5: Multi Sensory Language Education (MSLE), Reading Instruction, and the Orton-Gillingham Method

April 2, 2013

Studies show that children with dyslexia or related speech sound disorders need a multi-sensory approach to reading. Multi-sensory education incorporates three learning pathways, which are: auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (touching or moving), and visual (seeing). This approach is beneficial not only for students with dyslexia, but for all learners. It can be implemented in a large group setting as well as with individuals, small groups and at-risk populations.

Multi-Sensory Language Education

The content of Multi-Sensory Language Education (MSLE) includes phonology and phonological awareness; sound-symbol association; syllable instruction; morphology; syntax; and semantics.  The method of instruction includes techniques that are simultaneous and multisensory; systematic and cumulative; directly taught; diagnostically taught; synthetic and analytic in principle.

Content

  1. Phonology and Phonological Awareness: this means the study of sounds.  A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language; to understand the internal linguistic structure of words one has to be able to distinguish these discrete pieces.
  2. Sound-Symbol Association: this is the understanding that arbitrary marks on a page stand for particular sounds in a language.
  3. Syllable Instruction: a syllable is a single burst of phonemes which must include one – but only one – vowel sound and a single consonant or consonant cluster, e.g., /sp/.
  4. Morphology: a morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a language.  Any suffix or prefix is a morpheme, carrying its own meaning, as is the base word or root word.  Thus, “run” is one morpheme; “running” has two morphemes.
  5. Syntax: this is the set of principles that dictate the sequence of words in a sentence a well as their function.  Grammar, sentence variation and the mechanics of language are syntactical elements.
  6. Semantics: the aspect of language that concerns itself with meaning.  Since comprehension is the goal of literacy, semantic information is included at every level of a lesson from the very beginning.

Method

  1. Simultaneous, Multisensory:  this teaching uses all available sensory pathways – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile; all are employed together to enhance memory and learning.
  2. Systematic and Cumulative:  teaching material must be organized to follow the natural order of language, beginning with the easiest and progressing methodically to subsequent elements.  Learning builds from simple to complex, never skipping steps.
  3. Direct Instruction:  instructors never assume something will be inferred.  Every element is presented directly, and involves continuous student-teacher interaction.
  4. Diagnostic teaching:  every instructional session is in a sense an assessment, and based on the daily assessment of a student’s needs, the teacher knows what to prescribe for the following lesson.
  5. Synthetic and Analytic Instruction:  teachers show how to bring the elements of language together to form a meaningful whole (synthetic – bringing together) as well as separately presenting the whole and showing how to break it into its parts (analytic – taking apart).  This is “critical thinking”.

Using the Orton-Gillingham approach, a multi-sensory reading method, our reading teacher systematically builds your child’s reading skills through tactile, kinesthetic, oral, visual, and auditory modalities. The Orton-Gillingham approach incorporates the five components essential to effective reading intervention: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension strategies. These are essential skills to prepare for school and life-long learning. Your child will learn:

Left-right orientation

Spelling patterns

Word order

Encoding (writing)

Letter and sound association

Sight words

Word parts

Fine motor skills*

Sequencing

Sound and word patterns

Fluency

Letter formation

*CSLOT occupational therapists are available to provide support/consultation in these areas.

If you think your child needs Multi-Sensory Language Education, visit our appointment page to book a literacy evaluation.


Literacy– Speech Sound Disorders and Reading Problems

February 20, 2013

Most children who struggle with reading are those with a history of Speech Sound Disorders (SSD). In addition to having difficulty saying the speech sounds of the language, children with Speech Sound Disorders need more time to process speech sounds and tend to have difficulty identifying and manipulating them, important aspects of phonological awareness. When it comes to learning to read, children with SSD have difficulty decoding words because they do not have mental representations of how to make the associated sounds for the symbols of the alphabet. Learning to read, for these children, starts with learning to make speech sound distinctions and recognizing patterns in the words they hear.

A speech sound disorder (SSD) is a broad classification of disorders affecting a child’s (and sometimes adult’s) ability to communicate. Though all children make mistakes when learning new words and sounds, a disorder occurs when the child reaches a certain age and is still making certain mistakes. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help treat and possibly cure SSDs. The two main types of SSDs are articulation and phonological disorders

Articulation and Phonological Processes

Articulation disorders are characterized by substitution, distortion, omission or addition of sounds in words. A child with an articulation disorder will have difficulty learning how to physically produce certain sounds. One of the more common articulation problems is the inability for a child to produce the “r” sound. The “r” is often substituted with “w,” like saying “twee,” instead of “tree.” A lisp also is a common articulation distortion.

An SLP can teach a patient new ways to produce sounds (for example, changing the placement of the tongue when making certain sounds). Sounds in different words are practiced in repetition, until they become natural for the speaker.

Phonological process disorder is marked by a set pattern of sound errors. A child with a phonological process disorder will have difficulties learning the sound system. He or she may not realize that certain different sounds have different meanings. A common example is replacing the “d” sound with a “g”; saying “dot,” for example, instead of “got.” Children with this disorder may be able to hear the sound distinction in other peoples’ voices, but be unaware when they make the distortion.

An SLP will design a program involving studying and repeating words that differ only by one sound to indicate how different sounds signify different meanings. The suggested exercises will generalize age-appropriate phonological patterns.

In many cases, the reason that speech sound disorders occur is unknown, but recent research has shown that weaknesses in phonological awareness and word reading demonstrated by children with SSDs could be at least partially explained by their difficulties with phonological representation, implicating the brain’s auditory processing system.

Many children outgrow the problem, but those who cannot learn to produce sounds correctly, or do not learn the rules of speech on their own, need intervention.  A speech evaluation by an SLP will help decide if the child if the child will outgrow the problem.  There are many factors which will help decide if a child is in need of therapy.  One important consideration is the child’s degree of unintelligibility and how it restricts him from communicating with his family and peers.  A very verbal child who is difficult to understand can often feel frustrated and may respond by withdrawing from the effort of communication.

At CSLOT, we believe it is critical for our Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)to provide interventions that comprehensively integrate training in speech perception, speech production, phonological awareness, phonics, and direct reading instruction.

Your child’s speech therapist will support your child’s auditory processing in the area of phonemic awareness by teaching your child how to play with sounds in words, manipulating and changing them in many ways, while speech therapy will show your child how to produce the speech sounds correctly.

To set up an evaluation for your child, please visit our appointment page.


Social-Pragmatic Skills and Autism Spectrum Disorders

November 10, 2012

Social-Pragmatic skills help individuals engage in social interaction with others. Many of us grasped the unwritten rules that govern our behavior in the social environment early on in our lives. However, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulties learning these rules. In fact, social-pragmatics is often considered a core challenge for these children. The “hidden” social expectations can make social interaction a confusing experience. Therefore, many professionals and parents may want to help children with ASD develop a variety of skills that fall within the social-pragmatic realm. Nonetheless, before we start, we need to first sort out important conversational skills and find ways to assess children’s performance.

Social-Pragmatic skills involve not only one’s ability to communicate intent, but also knowledge of discourse management, register variation, presupposition, and other social skills. Discourse Management involves managing the conversation to keep it flowing and effective. Conversation partners need to agree on turn allocation, which involves identifying turn-taking opportunities and limiting one’s talking to one’s turn. They stay on the topic unless there is a signal by a communication partner that he/she is going to change the topic. Knowledge of topic maintenance includes knowing how to smoothly switch to a new topic. When conversation breakdown occurs, one needs to recognize it and use subsequent repair strategies such as repeat, rephrase, or adding information to aid communication. Register variation includes politeness/social role recognition, as people change their word choices, sentence forms, vocal tone and gestures/body posture to adjust to social roles in various discourse patterns. Presupposition, or perspective-taking,involves making assumptions about what other people know. People learn to understand everyone has different thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and take this into account during the conversation. Paralinguistics refers to the use of prosody, gaze, gestures, and physical proximity to show interest in the interaction, convey different layers of meanings and monitor the nonverbal communication of the partner. Social behaviors involve use of facial expressions, conventional gestures, and social actions that are expected in one’s culture, such as dressing appropriately for an occasion, offering to share something, assisting someone who needs help, patiently waiting for a turn in a game, etc.

Children with ASD may be able to fluently express their intention, but they often face difficulties in their social interaction with lack of proficiency of more than one skill listed above.

Assessing pragmatic skills can be a challenge since conversations are dynamic, and there is no easy way to measure one’s performance via standard tests. Formal assessment which involves static, often pictured situations can be used to establish a starting point, but information collected through observation, interview, and check lists helps us to detect if the individual lacks the knowledge to manage such conversations or is merely experiencing a performance issue. If needed, specific situations can be created to probe particular skills. Information from more than one source is necessary to establish goals and priorities for intervention.

Several key components need to be considered as we develop an individualized treatment program for children with ASD. These include the child’s knowledge about social communication, his/her ability to apply social knowledge in various situations, the cognitive/emotional cost to the child, the need to find right strategies to specific challenges, the co-occurring elements in the planning/implementation stages of social interaction, plans to generalize learned skills, self-monitoring skills that promote independence and flexibility, etc. Interventionists should also consider what skills are easiest/most important to teach, which skills can be paired together, and which skills will make the biggest impact in terms of improving social interaction. Many tools and programs have been developed for improving social interaction in this population. For example, social groups and social stories help children with ASD to experience different social roles and social situations, expand their knowledge of social skills, give them examples of strategies they can use, and offer them opportunities to practice social-pragmatic skills in a low-stress environment. While the SLP may lead intervention, family members and school teachers can also provide additional learning opportunities throughout the day to help children monitor their newly learned skills.

 

Information taken from:

http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/meeting-challenge-social-pragmatics-students-autism-spectrum-887512

 

Chloe Chenjie Gu, MA., Speech-Language Pathology Intern

Kristina Elliott, MA, CCC-SLP


Joint Attention

June 6, 2012

Learning to communicate using speech and language is a primary developmental task for young children. Significant progress in research related to language intervention is available to improve the delivery of Early Intervention services. According to the most recent research, social attention and prelinguistic communicative behaviors are fundamental to language learning and use.  According to Adamson et al., 2009, “the process of joint engagement between children and their partners is foundational to emerging communication.” In CSLOT’s parent handout, Making a Joint Effort to Communicate, joint engagement is initiated by the child’s communication partner through observation. By becoming a thoughtful observer, one can learn what the child enjoys, desires, feels – even what they want to communicate. Yoder & Warren, 2004 indicated that “coordinated joint attention is an important early indicator of social communication abilities and predicts the onset of spoken language in typical children with disabilities.” How can a parent, caretaker or therapist initiate coordinated joint attention? According to Making a Joint Effort to Communicate, one way is to become more physically involved in the same activity as the child. This works best when it is an activity of the child’s choosing. During the joint action, try imitating the child’s play- then try adding or expanding on their play.

Adamson et al., 2009 also found that the use of symbols (gestures, words) within the context of joint attention marks the transition from prelinguistic to linguistic communication. One way of using language during a joint activity is by providing joint referencing for the child. According to the handout, once the communication partner (i.e., parent, caretaker, therapist) is engaged in joint action with the child and they have established joint attention (i.e., both attending to the same thing), the communication partner can introduce the language component by talking about the object/action that the child is attending to. For example, if the child is playing with a car, then the communication partner will guide their attention to the car, talk about what it is, what it looks like, what it is doing, etc. The car is important to him right now so one can make that a “teachable moment.” Additional methods for teaching joint attention and prelinguistic communication skills (point, show, give, turn taking) have included environmental arrangement, modeling, prompting, and reinforcing child responses in naturalistic and direct teaching paradigms. Please speak with a speech-language pathologist for additional information on these techniques.

-Sarah Peters, MS, CCC-SLP

Information gathered from www.cslot.com and “Advances in Early Communication and Language Intervention,” (Kaiser & Roberts, 2011).


Living with Dyslexia

June 4, 2012

According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is characterized by “difficulties with accurate and /or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.” (Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002) Consequences may include difficulty with reading comprehension, which can limit growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. Recent studies also show that people diagnosed with dyslexia typically process information in a different area of the brain than people who are not dyslexic.

Since the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), many students are currently receiving instruction more tailored to their needs. However, adults who are living with dyslexia today may not have received the proper instruction in reading in order to overcome their challenges with written text.

Don’t worry! A wealth of evidence shows that intensive, high quality literacy instruction can help students who are struggling build the skills they need to succeed in high school and beyond (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006). In other words, it is never too late. Older students with dyslexia, including adults, can benefit from specialized reading and writing instruction, but it is essential for them to find an instructor who is highly trained to successfully teach individuals with dyslexia.

So, reader… while you are busy finding the proper instructor, you can still make improvements to your reading ability with compensatory strategies. These are methods for which you are able to compensate for significant difficulties in a way that would provide you with a more satisfying quality of life. For example, a compensatory strategy for overcoming difficulty with written text can be listening to books on audio recordings.

Other strategies:

Clarann Goldring, Ph.D., is a licensed and practicing psychologist, and maintains a diagnosis of Dyslexia and ADD. Below are some of her “Practical Tips for Success” for adults living with dyslexia: (From http://www.dyslexia-ca.org/pdf/files/clarann%20handout.pdf, 2006)

  1. ACCEPT YOUR LEARNING DIFFERENCE AND ADAPT ACCORDINGLY. The key for unleashing the potential within each person is through a set of specific coping strategies and techniques.

Four components:

1) RECOGNIZING the disability was the key beginning point.  Denial leads to continued failure and moving ahead is impossible.

2) PERSISTENCE – THE NEED TO WORK HARDER THAN OTHERS – Accepting both the negative and the positive.

3) UNDERSTANDING YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS – What is my disability and how does it effect my everyday world?

4) ACTION – All the recognition, acceptance and understanding in the world are useless without a conscious decision to work towards a goal.

Understand your Strengths and Weaknesses and Adapt with Compensations

  1. DEAL WITH ANXIETY, OVERWHELM, or PROCRASTINATION
  2. Take a Deep Breath – slow down.
  3. Break it Down into smaller parts.
  4. Make a Plan – organize the activity
  5. Self Talk:

  I am unable to spell but I can create great ideas for a story.

  I am unable to remember the detailed information but 

  I can tape it, write it down and with time I can fully understand it.”

~Admire the fact that you can work through the struggle.

  1. MAKE STRATEGIES FOR MEMORIZING MATERIAL

(use diagrams, cards, tape recorders,  visualization, auditory associations, mnemonics)

  1. If someone gives you information – How do you put it in your long term memory?
  2. Organize the information into concrete usable information.
  3. Multi-sensory – see it, hear it, do it (kinesthetic).

READ IT,   SAY IT,   WALK WITH IT,   BOUNCE WITH IT,   MAKE PICTURES WITH IT

(Note: why do I forget?  I am not interested – not my choice to remember.  For this moment I need to be interested.

Relax – crawl into this material for a moment. Make it a challenge!)

Laughter is another key to happiness. Having a sense of humor about your difficulties may also help you deal with some of the more challenging tasks, when feelings of frustration take over. For a chuckle, please visit: http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/d/dyslexia.asp (beware – some of them are pretty silly!).

Living with dyslexia doesn’t have to be so hard. If you can have patience and work hard, you will succeed in making improvements to your reading and comprehension abilities. Please visit the resources below for more information about dyslexia, and for access to communities of others successfully living a satisfying life, with dyslexia.

 

References/Resources:

Clarann Goldring, Ph.D., 2006: “Practical Tips for Success”

http://www.dyslexia-ca.org/pdf/files/clarann%20handout.pdf)

International Dyslexia Association:

http://www.interdys.org/FAQWhatIs.htm

Forum and Resource for Individuals with Dyslexia, created by Individuals with Dyslexia: http://www.dyslexia-adults.com/a6.html

Melissa M. McClung, MS, CF-SLP